Athelhampton auction supports Fortuneswell Unit at Dorset County Hospital

Dorset County Hospital’s Fortuneswell Chemotherapy Unit has received a significant donation from Athelhampton House following a recent fundraising event.

Athelhampton’s owner, Giles Keating, organised an auction at the iconic Tudor manor house with help from Ray Kerslake, a previous fundraiser for Dorset County Hospital.

The auction was in two parts: the first half being a commercial sale of various surplus items; the second a charity auction, raising money both for Fortuneswell Unit and for the Dorset Museum. Duke’s Auctioneers received normal commercial terms for the first half, and very kindly agreed to waive their commission for the charity auction, also generously collecting all the money and handing over the items which had been purchased.

The items that were auctioned for the Fortuneswell Unit came from two sources. Ray Kerslake used his excellent network of local connections, ranging as far as Poole, where a couple of boat operators, Greenslade Pleasure Boats and Avalanche II, generously gave boat trips (fetching £40 and £150); the Blue Vinney pub at Puddletown also donated a meal (£70).

This was complemented by a number of lots kindly provided by the team at Athelhampton where proceeds were shared between the Fortuneswell Unit and the Museum. These included a Ghost Night tour (fetching £200), a Garden Makeover (£170) and a tour based on Giles Keating’s book, Anne of Athelhampton (£100).

Giles said; “Athelhampton is part of the local community, and we were delighted to help the Fortuneswell Unit which provides such wonderful support to cancer sufferers.

“Perhaps most fun of all, we discovered a couple of cobweb-covered bottles of old Hardy’s Ale in the cellars at Athelhampton. These sold for a total of £430 as collectors are very keen on these! Further donations came from the current producers of modern Hardy’s Ale, who kindly shipped a case of new bottles over from Italy, though they were temporarily delayed.”

Duke’s Auctioneer Michael Roberts said; “Probably the most amusing sales were the two Hardy’s Ale lots kindly donated but not (at the time of the sale) yet delivered to the auction – instead these items were in transit somewhere in France.”

Michael added; “I’ve never before sold something we don’t actually have!”

In total the auction event raised £1,200 for Dorset County Hospital. The event was organised by Giles Keating, owner of Athelhampton House, supported by Ray Kerslake and members of the Puddletown and Tolpuddle communities.

Simon Pearson, Head of Charity at Dorset County Hospital said; “I would like to personally thank Giles, Ray and everyone who supported this amazing event, including those who took part in the bidding and all the local businesses which donated auction lots. Our thanks also go to Michael and to Duke’s Auctioneers for their generous support and professional help in making this fundraiser such a great success.”

To find out about other ways to support Dorset County Hospital visit

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